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Biden Team Wants to Know How Feds Feel About the Return to Office, Inclusion and More

Administration officials are seeking feedback in short “pulse” surveys that will go out roughly every two months.  

This week, the Biden administration launched a “pulse” survey to gain better insight into federal employees’ feelings on engagement, inclusion and the return to office process.

The President’s Management Council, along with the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management and General Services Administration, piloted this survey for about 2 million civilian federal employees at 24 major agencies. It will consist of three to four questions. 

This will “help inform the administration’s actions on how best to support the federal workforce,” wrote Pam Coleman, associate director of performance and personnel management at OMB, in a post on October 18. “The email links to the survey questions, which should take only a few minutes to complete.”

During the pilot, the administration plans to send surveys about every two months, which “will allow time to analyze the aggregated data, evaluate governmentwide trends, and then adapt future pulse surveys,” Coleman said.

“We created three versions of the pulse survey,” an OMB spokesperson told Government Executive on Thursday, when asked for more details about the questions. “Some employees got questions about employee engagement, for example, while others got questions about their experiences with the reentry process, while still others received questions related to inclusion.” 

Coleman said the agencies are looking into how to best summarize and share the results with agency leadership and employees, and to check for more updates. When asked if the results will be made public, the OMB spokesperson referred to Coleman’s statement. 

It’s “about time!” said John Kamensky, emeritus fellow at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, in a tweet on Wednesday. “OMB and OPM [are] catching up with industry by using ‘pulse surveys’ of employees.” He noted that this is just a few questions compared to the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, which has about 100. Last week, OPM said that the annual viewpoint survey for 2021 will start going out to employees on November 1.